August 3rd, 2004

Rand and Nietzsche

I see that the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies ("JARS") is looking for papers comparing Rand and Nietzsche.

I went through a fairly intense study of Nietzsche, including taking a course on him, back in my college years. It was after I was already interested in Rand. You might say Rand was my introduction to Nietzsche, even though he is very unlike her in many respects. Perhaps he was my contrast object for my early study of Rand.

One point of similarity, which jumped out at me, is the way they see thinkers as personalities with motives other than simply finding the truth.

Consider this little passage about Kant's as a moralist:

"What could destroy us more quickly than working, thinking, and feeling without any inner necessity, without any deeply personal choice, without pleasure, as an automaton of "duty?" This is the very recipe for decadence, even for idiocy. Kant became an idiot. And this man was a contemporary of Goethe! The catastrophic spider was considered the GERMAN philosopher - he still is!"

Now THAT is what I call a dismissive attitude.

Rhyme of the day:

Warning to philosophic insiders:
Beware the catastrophic spider!

Nietzsche quote is from The Antichrist, section 11, in the Walter Kaufmann translation in The Portable Nietzsche.

Interesting article on Nietzsche and his book, The Antichrist:

JARS call for papers: